The Institut Français focuses on two main tasks:
- conducting major operations;
- supporting France’s cultural network abroad
On behalf of the MAE, the Institut Français handles the design and organisation of French pavilions at such major events as the Venice Biennale for the visual arts and architecture or the Sao Paulo International Architecture Biennial. Prospective curators and artists are chosen in consultation with the Ministry for Culture and Communication. The Institut also runs the World Film Pavilion (Pavillon des Cinémas du Monde) during the Cannes film festival.
Promoting art scenes
The Institut Français is also involved in identifying and promoting art scenes and offers opportunities for developing constructive relationships between professional communities in France and abroad. Part of this activity includes organising major operations such as the Focus (dance, theatre, music and visual arts) events or festivals such as France Danse Europe and Baltic Sounds French.
Support for solidarity zone countries
The Institut Français plays a part in strengthening the dynamics at work in priority solidarity zone (ZSP) countries by supporting creation and local cultural events and agencies and by encouraging opportunities for local artists and works to gain access to the international scene. The Institut is the driving force behind the Bamako Encounters photography biennial (Rencontres africaines de la photographie), the Danse l’Afrique Danse dance biennial and the L’Afrique est à la Mode young fashion designers’ contest, and the Luang Prabang Photo Biennial.
Programming cross-cultural exchanges
The Institut Français is also involved in drawing up the artistic programming for cross-cultural Seasons and Years in consultation with the event curators and partners (French Season in South Africa and the Festival of Croatia in France in 2012)
The Institut Français now offers a new support mechanism for projects put forward by France’s cultural network abroad. Projects are initiated not by the Institut but directly by the artistes and companies themselves, by overseas partners or by the French cultural network abroad, through a process of sector-based calls for projects (in the fields of the live performing arts, visual arts, intellectual debate, scientific and technical culture, etc.)
The projects are then considered by a committee made up of representatives from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry for Culture, professionals from the field(s) concerned and Institut Français project officers.
The Institut Français also contributes to staff training and develops shared activities and digital platforms for the network.